Tag Archives: Single Parents

Stargazing

Hope has been having body issues lately. As if we needed more drama…but at least teen girl body issues is ‘normal’ right?

Right.

I’ve been cooking more. I pack Hope’s lunch daily. Hope supplements everything with junk food. This is also apparently normal for a lot of teens, but we cross over into snack binging when Hope is stressed, which is like, all the time.

After a long chat with AbsurdlyHotTherapist, I decided to phase out most of the snacks in the house and replace them with healthier options. Happily, this means I’m getting closer to my pre-Hope dietary regimen. I never used to have this crap in the house. I grew up thinking Crispix was a sugar cereal! #IDigress The house will soon be stocked with more fruits and veggies. Sure we’ll keep the granola bars, the hummus and pretzels, but the fruit snacks that she binges on are out of here as are the chips.

Hope put on a few pounds last year. She’s tall and the extra pounds fill her out; she looks good. She more or less agrees that she likes her body, but she is concerned about gaining more weight.

The relationship between weight gain, food and exercise are all lost on her.

I exercise regularly, nearly daily. I often invite Hope to join me. It always seems like a good idea to her at first, until she actually has to physically get up to join me.

A couple of weeks ago, I dragged her on a 3 mile walk with me. She dragged her feet, but eventually stopped complaining. It was clear that she enjoyed spending time with me. That night she fell asleep early; she was knocked out.

So, yesterday, on my way home from the office, I called Hope to inform her we were going for a walk when I got home.

She groaned. I told her it was not a request; she was going to walk with me.

I got home, changed and told her, “Let’s go.”

She groaned and put on her jacket. We hit the street and asked about each other’s day.

She told me about a sick friend. We talked about how I was phasing out some of the household snacks. She asked about nutrition. We talked about her problems in geometry and chemistry. She told me that she actually does a lot of reading about Korean culture besides the K-pop scene. I learned her hands really don’t warm up with exercise like mine do. We talked about the weather and pondered why it was so chilly when it was so warm at the beginning of the week. We talked about our hair and nails, and how I keep buying nail polish with the hopes of having time to sit down and paint my nails but never getting around to it.

We talked about her band assessment this week. Her reed cracked during class this week, and she needed to make sure her new reeds were ready before the next performance. We talked about test anxiety and what that looks like and how we might have a little problem with it. We discussed going to the St. Patrick’s day parade this weekend and the need to pick up her glasses at Costco. I asked her if she had any special requests for dinner next week so that I could make the weekend shopping list.

As we were walking back, we talked about how the skyline looked. She pointed out what appeared to be the North Star. She asked about Halley’s Comet, and I told her about how I saw it when I was a young girl so she should see it in her lifetime, when she’s about 60. If I’m lucky, I might get to be around for it a second time too. We stopped walking to look at the sky so we could confirm if it was really the North Star.

It was dark, but just before 7pm. Rush hour was happening in the sky; planes were coming in for landing at the airport a few miles away. We perched on the side of the bridge we were on to count all the planes. I explained why some were low but flying in circles; they were waiting their turn to land. A few planes were taking off. A military helicopter flew by in the direction of the nearby base. We looked up and saw the planes that were maintaining their elevation; they were clearly headed north of the DC area.  We picked out the big and little dippers and a few other constellations. Hope clapped excitedly that she was able to pick out the constellations.  We noticed a few stars that appeared to be more yellow and a few that appeared more red.

Hope’s hands were very cold, her only complaint, so we started walking again. She asked if we could have cocoa, I said of course.

We walked and talked.

As we got close to the door of our building, I told her that I really enjoyed catching up and looking at the stars with her.

Hope replied, “Me too.”

We’ll be walking in the evenings more often.

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A Night at the Theater

Every now and then Hope and I go through this absurd production written, starring and exclusively produced by Hope to get my attention.

These plays typically occur close to major holidays, schedule disruptions or anytime Hope apparently doesn’t think she’s getting enough attention.

[Cue Sophia Patrillo Voice]

no

Picture it: abdominal pain, usually cramps (which can legit be a problem).

Cramps worsen and ‘spread’ to the entire stomach.

Becomes accompanied by either constipation or diarrhea; initially faked.

She works herself into a frenzy, at which point the constipation or diarrhea become legit.

Pain worsens.

Cry  and moan, occasionally hyperventilating, like a bad actress in a bad horror movie.

Other side show ailments begin to emerge, including but not limited to short term amnesia, ear infections, inability to swallow, inability to talk at all, and something akin to what looks like a druggie nod.

Crying and gnashing of teeth; sometimes yelling.

[End Act I]

We’re regulars at the local Patient First; always the same diagnosis. Nothing wrong, maybe a little dehydrated. Go home, drink some water, eat some fruits and veggies.

Anyhoo, after our girl-fest weekend, I thought I’d fed the attention beast enough to sidestep her need to put on this play of Two Acts., but no, she managed to orchestrate her drama today with minimal warning.

The only warning I had was when I called to check on her this afternoon and she indicated that she didn’t know where I was; I didn’t tell her I was going to work (I did) and she wondered when I would be home.

Well, I missed my cue, because while I was at the grocery store she called in full on hysterics, yelling into the phone, moaning, screeching and vocalizing in an incoherent manner so loudly that other line-mates looked on with concern.

dancing

I tried reasoning with her, and she just couldn’t finish a sentence—she was clearly dying a quick and horrible death.

She could not get it together—not at all, so I eventually hung up.

dancing

We’ve been here before.

I set my basket down, picked up Yappy from daycare and headed home. On my way, I try to figure out why she got triggered. I also tried to control my own rage at having to “Play” this thing out with her tonight. It’s exhausting, expensive and while I intellectually get it, I find it to be over the top manipulation.

I get home to find a child who is now calm.

[Cue my simmering anger]

“Come on, let’s go to the urgent care.”

“Oh, I don’t need to go to the urgent care, I just wanted to know when you were coming home.”

giphy1

“Bull sh!t, you know the drill; put your shoes on and let’s go play this out.”

Off to the urgent care we went. Somehow on the way she developed amnesia and a busted knee which brought about an exaggerated limp—gotta make the most out of this urgent care visit.

In triage, I made her tell the nurse what was wrong with her because well, this was her drama. I’m just here to pay for the front row tickets.

Lots of concern.

Blood pressure and oxygenation: Perfect:

Fever? No.

Flu test: Negative.

Blood work: Great, if not sludgy because of dehydration.

Urine: Clear.

Abdominal palpation: She flinched a tiny bit, triggering the newbie nurse practitioner to ponder appendicitis.

Meanwhile, Hope is giggling, chatty. It’s like giving a dry flower water.

No, she does not have appendicitis.

Will I bring her back to check in tomorrow?

Hell naw, this play is over.

They gave her some Tylenol (that no doubt cost $50), and handed me a discharge slip.

Something different happened this time around though. Typically this drama is so predictable…I know my lines, she knows hers. But she added some this time.

While waiting for the urinalysis she said, ”I’m sorry.”

giphy1

“I’m sorry for what?”

“I’m sorry I yelled at you on the phone. I just wanted to know when you were coming home.”

I did not know what my lines were supposed to be, so I had to improvise.

“Um, I told you I had a couple of errands and I had to pick up Yappy. All of the drama was not necessary. I would’ve been home soon. All of this drama is ridiculous and you know that. You could have just called me to see if I was on my way.”

“I know.”

On our way home, she apologized again.

“I know I do this over and over again, so you probably don’t think I’m really sorry, but I am.”

“I know. What will you do next time?”

-silence-

“You can just call me without the drama. This girl who cried wolf has gotten old. How will I be able to tell if something is really wrong?”

“I know.”

[End Scene]

I know she is sorry. I don’t know if she has the skills to do something different and better next time. I expect that there will be more visits to the urgent care.

What’s frustrating is that I know she can’t help it. She knows I’ll take care of her. She knows I’ll drop everything to see about her.

But her trauma brain still doesn’t know that. This is how she survived; she is how she got her needs met. I know that even though she knows on some conscious level that she doesn’t have to do this, that that primitive brain of hers will continue to put on this kind of drama every few months.

And we’ll go through the motions again and again until that hurt brain realizes I’m not going anywhere.


Wiring My Jaw Shut

So as I wrestle with my emotions in trying to motivate Hope as well as provide her the support she needs to be successful, Absurdly Hot Therapist recently told me to really work on practicing “non-judgmental parenting.”

Point-And-Laugh-Reaction-Gif

So after I finished laughing and thinking about how hot he is in his shawl collared therapist sweaters and cute colorful socks, I was like “Dude….”

Aw-Hell-Naw-Kanye-West-Gif

Oh, don’t miss understand, I get it: Safe environment for Hope, protect Hope’s ego, support Hope, let her know I have reasonable expectations, but am totally cool with her working up to them…Yada, yada, yada.

Ohhh.Emmmm.Geeee.

Listen, I feel like I have the most amazing family in the universe. I also feel like despite our best efforts we can be a judgy bunch.

Like, PhD in judgy sometimes.

And oh, despite my best, dedicated, work hard efforts, I am soooooo a judging everything.

Startrek

Oh yeah, it’s a problem, I know.

So, I’ve been working on it. My version of working on it looks like this:

“Don’t say anything because you might lose it.”

“Keep your pie hole shut.”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.”

“Do NOT respond to that smart a$$ text message.”

“Whooooosaaaaaaa.”

“Nope, not falling for it, not gonna do it.”

*Heaving breathing*

“Get yourself a martini, like right now before you rip her head off.”

#realtalk

This, this is my internal monologue.

We were in to see our primary care physician for double appointments today; I was shocked that my blood pressure was normal. I swore it would be through the roof. I would’ve bet the farm on it.

Seriously, I’d like to just get my mouth wired shut for the next year or two, then I wouldn’t have to worry about my mouth popping off when Hope said/did something unbelievable.

I’m honestly not sure how people survive this. I feel like all this new fan-dangled parenting might just kill me. My parents see me interact with Hope and this, this is the face they give me.

simon-cowell-face-o

It’s all with so much love.


200_s

“You gonna just let that slide? You aren’t going to check her?”

You see, I try not to judge Hope and I feel even more judged.

Ain’t that some ish?

Now, I am not justifying my continued judgment of my daughter, but seriously, this feels like a no win situation for me, no way out. It is crushing my spirit right now.

Oh and my tongue has a bunch of chew marks on it from me biting it so hard.

I am staying the course though. I am working on letting Hope just fall into the natural consequences of doing or not doing whatever it is she’s supposed to do. She fed me a bunch of BS today about why she can’t/won’t do something to bring a grade up from a 28 to a 60.

I’ve bent over backwards like a yogi.

Her teacher has bent over backwards on a mat beside me.

back-bend-services

I finally just told the teacher to let that grade ride; seriously, why are we killing ourselves? We care about her, but we understand and know how to work these algebra problems. She’s the one who has an opportunity to raise her grade.

The choice, ultimately, just has to be hers.

Le Sigh.

I wish that letting it ride really gave me peace. It doesn’t. I am still scared for her, but I’m going to take a big step back and try to just breathe, let her breathe and let the chips fall.

I still might need to get my jaw wired shut, though. I’m wayyyyyy too hot tempered to keep repeating all the mantras.


34 Weeks

I turned in my adoption application the first full week in January.  I’ve thought about this day every day since I dropped it in the mail.  Some people wait years for this day.

I waited, officially, just 34 weeks.   Just six weeks shy of a full term biological baby.  Today turned out to be my Match Day.  I guess that makes me the proud new mom of a “preemie” 12 year old!

Hope (The kid formerly known as Hope Kid) is a girl!

Image

Her social worker informed my agency today that this was a match, and then it was up to me.  I already knew it was a match.  I cried all through the phone call, and a sense of euphoria swept over me.  It was such an awesome moment.  I swear the news made me high.

I celebrated like I celebrated defending my dissertation proposal, just 49 days ago:  I got 2 slices of pizza, a large cannoli and some bubbly from Whole Foods.  Can you do that right after delivery?  I don’t know, probably not the bubbly.

Oh, don’t get it twisted, I love a good highbrow celebration, but when I’m celebrating something alone, privately and savoring the moment, pizza, dessert and bubbly are my go-to party yum-yums.   Match Day is beyond sweet.

A mere two weeks after starting this blog, the next chapter begins.  Oh, I’m not under any disillusion.  This is a visual depiction of what I’m feeling.

 Image

I’m on the first drop of an amazing roller coaster.  I don’t know whether to hold on to the rails or raise my hands high.  I’m screaming with fear and giggling with glee.  I see twists and turns ahead that scare the sh*t out of me, and yet I’m looking forward to every gut-wrenching, puke-inducing, teary eyed moment of it.  Who knows, I might even want to ride this particular ride again someday.

Next week we start developing a meet and greet and transition plan.  This weekend I’m visiting the newly minted grandparents (my folks).  We’ll be poring over decorating magazines, filming videos and picking out pictures for my life book that I will send her in the coming weeks.

Today was a very good day.


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